The continuing resurgence of the vinyl market has until recently been held back by the sometimes intimidating need for first time adopters to purchase additional preamps and power amplifiers for their new turntables.
Users accustomed to all-encompassing mini hi-fi systems and wireless speakers who are considering vinyl potentially turn their back on the format when faced with the additional extras, but a new market – and new solutions – are now emerging for wireless and integrated turntable systems, offering the easiest introduction to vinyl’s pure analog sound.
Previously, all-in-one turntables commonly took the form of cheap and nasty systems characterised by cramped and distorted audio, typically targeted at clueless hipsters shopping in big box retailers or clothing stores.
Premium offerings from the likes of Pro-Ject Audio and McIntosh are now giving new users the full vinyl experience, while also including streaming convenience modern consumers expect.
A hub for streaming services, Bluetooth, and Airplay that also allows playback of vinyl records to a multi-room wireless speaker set-up using Yamaha’s MusicCast line of wireless speakers. The Vinyl 500 also offers an in-built phono pre-amp for line-out to an external amplifier or powered speakers. Amazon Alexa integration provides voice control.
Those looking for flexible wireless vinyl playback without being locked in to one line of speakers can look towards the Elipson Omega 100 RIAA BT. Made in France, the Elipson uses a belt-driven turntable at 33, 45, and 78 rpm to transmit to Bluetooth speakers using the high quality aptX codec. A built-in phono preamp also provides easy connection to an external amplifier and a USB output allows users to digitise their record collection.
Consider this a step-up on the Elipson a direct-drive turntable providing wireless freedom to users who refuse to compromise on sound. High-resolution aptX streaming provides up to 24-bit/48kHz sound quality through equally capable Bluetooth speakers, headphones and amplifiers. As expected in the world of hi-fi, this quality doesn’t come cheap.
Designed to serve as the core of a casual consumer’s hi-fi set-up, the Juke Box E allows for plug-and-play accessibility to vinyl with enough modularity to create realistic stereo sound-staging using external speakers. An in-built class D amplifier is good for 2 x 50 watts at 4 Ohms, and the system also supports line-in and Bluetooth inputs. Its plug-and-play ease of use is perfect for those looking to get into decent sounding vinyl while still having money left over for records.
This crowdfunded company’s +Record system goes a step further, offering quality built-in stereo speakers, with four Class D amplifiers to power them. The +Record can also make use of Bluetooth, Amazon Alexa and Google Cast. Users can digitise their vinyl collections via USB, and those caught in the middle ground between retro vinyl and modern streaming can connect CD players through optical and analog inputs.
At its familiar spot at the top end, McIntosh now offers the MTI100 integrated turntable system. A Class D amplifier offers 80 watts per 4 Ohms channel, (50W in 8 Ohms) and is capable of powering two speakers. A vacuum tube preamplifier and a separate phono preamplifier help produce an authentic vinyl sound. As a modern system, the MTI100 also offers Bluetooth and a mixture of analog and digital inputs. It even features output to a subwoofer. This is the integrated turntable to get if money is “more of a concept”.